Through Erik’s Eyes: The Hottest Topic Around

In the November 2014 elections, Republican Joni Ernst, an experienced Iowa Senate member, defeated democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley. The Tampa Bay Times reported that during a debate on April 24 for the 2014 republican primaries, Ernst was firm on her stance concerning the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). She stated, “Let’s shut down the EPA” Ernst now represents Americans in Congress. Frankly, the EPA is actually very effective. When looking at the management of toxins, the EPA has compiled 84,000 chemicals produced in the United States, and has gathered enough data to restrict 10 percent of them.

The White House Office of Management and Budget states that the budget for the EPA is currently at nine billion, a decrease of 1.3 billion from 2010. Due to the inadequate funds, programs such as Title V in New York, are deteriorating. Capital New York, a newspaper based in New York, recently found that the EPA program has been underfunded and faces a $16 million under funding crisis. This means that environmental safety programs are at stake. Overall, there have actually been various Republican proposals to destroy EPA funding. According to The Hill, a House of Representatives subcommittee approved a legislation cutting EPA to $7.5 billion. Furthermore, the measure would ensure $24 million worth of cuts to programs including regulations of carbon pollution and power plants. Yet again, these cuts seem like large actions with seemingly humongous repercussions in the future.

When people look at one of the most underfunded organizations the federal government subsidizes. They have the biggest intellect dealing with climate change. NASA has been dedicated in describing the immense effects of climate change. They report that Ocean acidification has increased by 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution; Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers of ice per year between 2002 and 2006 and Antarctica lost about 153 cubic kilometers of ice between 2002 and 2005 Global sea levels rose about 17 centimeters, while the rate in the last decade has nearly double that of the last century. Most significant, however, is that NASA, when researching the topic and doing their own analysis, have concluded that the 10 warmest years in Earth’s history have occurred in the past 12 years, and temperatures still continue to rise.

Yet, I still have faith in America’s intelligence on the matter. A Stanford University poll in 2011 found that 81 percent of Americans believe that human activity contributed in some way to the growing climate change. The New York Times also reported that 48 percent of people who identify themselves as Republicans say they would more likely vote for a candidate who supports fighting global warming. Although these are great numbers, the same report found that 47 percent of Republicans in public office believe that efforts to curb global warming would hurt the economy. If you ask me, the safety of current and future generations should not have a price tag. Most unfortunate is the fact that the Pew Research Center found that about 91 percent of liberals see global warming as an immediate issue, while only 21 percent of conservatives see it as a problem of epic proportions. This must not be a partisan issue, rather political parties must unite under the same mentality that the environment must be protected at all costs.

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan’s “Think Tank”, the Global Humanitarian Forum, has predicted the consequences of climate change in a harsh manner. By assessing natural disasters inherently created due to rising temperatures on the surface and in the ocean, the group found that climate change is responsible for 300,000 deaths every year with the number most likely to increase to 500,000 by 2030. Climate change could cost $600 billion by 2030, as well as an approximate 20 million people falling into poverty and 75 million people being displaced due to the sinister acts of nature.

Looking at the impacts, climate change is an immediate threat regardless what any political party thinks. The time for solvency is now, and, more importantly, the U.S. must be united.